Place:Stornoway, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland

NameStornoway
TypeParish
Coordinates58.2659°N 6.3617°W
Located inRoss and Cromarty, Scotland     ( - 1975)
Also located inOuter Hebrides, Scotland     (1975 - 1996)
Western Isles, Scotland     (1996 - )
See alsoLewis, Ross and Cromarty, Scotlandisland on which it is located
source: Family History Library Catalog


The Parish

Stornoway is a parish on the Island of Lewis in the Western Isles council area, some 30 miles (49 km) northeast of Tarbert in the Western Isles and 45 miles (72 km) northwest of Gairloch in Highland. It faces the Scottish mainland and has a northwestern border with the parish of Barvas. The civil parish of Stornoway has a population of approximately 12,000. (The town of Stornoway has 9,000 of this total.)

Prior to 1975 the parish was located in the old county of Ross and Cromarty, which was replaced in that year by the Outer Hebrides Region and in 1996 by the unitary authority named the Western Isles council area.

The parish has an area of 265.5 sq. km (102.5 sq. miles) and includes the town of Stornoway. Other settlements of some size are Bayble and Portnaguran on Point (see below), and Coll and Tolsta to the north and west of Stornoway Town. The smaller scattered settlements are Aird, Aignish, Garrabost, Gress, Knock, Sheshader, Shulishader and Swordale.

Point or the Eye Peninsula

Point (Scottish Gaelic: An Rubha), also known as the Eye Peninsula, is a peninsula situated very close to regional capital Stornoway. It is connected to the rest of the Isle of Lewis by a narrow isthmus, one mile in length and barely 100 metres wide. The peninsula itself is more that 6 miles long and about 2-1/2 miles wide. Point is home to around 2,600 people and is one of the few districts of the Western Isles or Outer Hebrides of Scotland where the population is actually increasing. However, the school population of Point is decreasing as much as the rest of Scotland.

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Stornoway, Outer Hebrides.

Research Tips

Notes for the Highland Council Area and the Western Isles Council Area

The local archives are held by The Highland Archive Service which is based in Inverness with branches in Stornoway, Fort William and Caithness. It is "responsible for locating, preserving and making accessible archives relating to all aspects of the history of the geographical area of the Highlands."

Family history societies and historical associations covering the Highland Council Area and the Western Isles Council Area are:

These associations publish their aims on their websites as well as a list of publications. In many cases the publications are also available through the Scottish Genealogy Society (see below).

Sources for Old Parish Registers Records, Vital Records and Censuses

  • Scotland's People This is a pay website providing vital statistics and census data for all of Scotland with original images. There is a description at Scotland under Genealogical Resources.
  • See the publications lists of the above Family History Societies.
  • The FreeCen Project--Scotland has a searchable (not browsable) transcription for each of the counties in the area. Nairnshire and Caithness have the 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 complete. Inverness-shire and Ross and Cromarty have 1841 complete with some work on 1851 and Sutherland has not completed 1841.

Transcriptions of Gravestone Inscriptions

  • The Scottish Genealogy Society provides a series of monumental inscriptions either in print in booklet form or on CD for each of the counties in the area (Caithness, Inverness-shire, Nairnshire, Ross and Cromarty, and Sutherland). Some of the booklets cover only one graveyard, others cover a group. Prices vary. In many cases the coverage is of pre-1855 stones only--this is because gravestone inscriptions are often used by family historians as death registration equivalents in the era of the Old Parish Registers (when deaths were not universally recorded).
  • Sutherland cemeteries are covered in Pre-1855 tombstone inscriptions in Sutherland burial grounds by A S Cowper & I Ross, published at Edinburgh in 1989 by the Scottish Genealogy Society.
  • There are no specific notes for gravestone transcriptions for either Inverness-shire or Nairnshire in GENUKI. However, the Scottish Genealogy Society lists booklets for both counties.

Further Sources of Reference

Please note and respect the copyright warnings on these websites.

  • GENUKI has articles on each of the counties. These may not appear up-to-date but a query to the organizer made in August 2014 was answered within a few hours and followed up by an amendment to the article.
  • The Gazetteer for Scotland provides an article on each of the old counties of Scotland. The tabs on the right provide more information, plus a map of the county within its surrounding area, with parishes highlighted and linked to more information. Each parish within the county also has a set of webpages which follow the same design.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki article on Scotland provides information on research in Scotland in general and links to pages for the individual counties and from there to some individual parishes.
  • The National Library of Scotland have a website devoted to maps from the 1600s right up to the present. Comparisons of modern-day and old maps of the same place can be made. From the home page click on "Find by place" and then follow the instructions on the next page. Once you are viewing the place you want, use the slider <----> at the top of the map to compare the layout of roads and the place names of smaller areas, perhaps even farms, with the landscape today. The website takes some getting used to. The One-inch 2nd edition, Scotland, 1898-1904 OS is a series of maps with the parishes delineated. Each of these maps cover an area of 18 x 24 miles and will zoom to comfortable reading size with a couple of mouse clicks on the map itself. Unfortunately, they are not geo-referenced, and it is necessary to go to the OS One Inch 1885-1900 series to locate places by latitude and longitude.
  • The Statistical Accounts for Scotland In the 1790s and again in the 1830s, the ministers of the all the parishes of the Church of Scotland were asked to provide a description of their parish to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The original account request included 160 questions to be answered. These accounts are available in print in 20 volumes and are also online where it is freely available to browse. The browsing portal is below the viewing area of most computer screens. Scroll down to "For non-subscribers" and click on "Browse scanned pages". This brings you to another page on which one can enter the name of the parish in which you are interested.
  • Excerpts from The Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885 are provided by Scottish Places. Selections from Groome and other gazetteers from the 19th century are also found on GENUKI.


Extra Research Tips

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Stornoway, Outer Hebrides. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Point, Outer Hebrides. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.